If you’re in the habit of acknowledging the existence of others by trying to make yourself smaller or taking a seat at the back of the room, you might want to consider how well this response serves you. As research conducted by social scientists and neuroscientists confirms and many of us know from experience when you draw in your arms and legs, tighten your body, hunker down, or move asidecyou undermine your ability to project authority and power.
Not only do others read you as diminished, you begin to feel that way yourself. That’s because your physical attempts to shrink send a message to your brain that you really shouldn’t be occupying your space, either physically or metaphorically. You’re not big enough, so you don’t belong. Others are more deserving than you are. That’s how your brain interprets your actions. lower his eyes and flip down his tail when a more dominant dog approaches. Or you’ve watched your cat slick back her ears and flatten her fur as she slinks past the dog. The message your pets are sending is clear: I’m really tiny. I pose no threat. Take no notice. Just allow me to get out of your way.
However unintended, or well intended—for example, the desire to welcome a newcomer—when you try to make yourself smaller, you send a subservient message to everyone in the room. This happens without your consciously meaning to do so. It happens simply because you’re a mammal.
This may be beside the point.” These verbal tics are usually employed at the start of a statement, where they are calculated to do the most harm. The millennial habit of routinely ending every sentence on a rising note, which has the effect of making every statement sound like a question, conveys an uncertainty that both minimizes and discounts, while also seeming designed to invite contradiction.